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Best Out-of-Town Programming 

The Lied Center

The University of Kansas' Lied Center is nothing if not versatile, with a performance on its schedule for everyone. Over the past year, it juggled world (Shidara Taiko, Ballet Folklórico de México), classical (Cypress String Quartet, the Albers Trio), Broadway (Cats) and surefire family pleasers (Tap Dogs, the Glenn Miller Orchestra). What sets the Lied apart, however, is the chance it takes that some events might not draw everyone. So there was chamber music by Kronos Quartet, modern dance from the Trey McIntyre Project and Pilobolus Dance Theatre, and visits by left-of-the-dial icons Ira Glass and David Sedaris. Tickets for those NPR storytellers went fast, but Kronos struggled to find a local audience last spring, with ticket prices chopped at the last minute. If commercial concerns have softened the new season's programming, which is stuffed with family- and nostalgia-friendly fare, well, we can blame these oft-cited tough economic times. But there's plenty of reason to believe that the Lied won't give up its bigger ambitions easily.

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